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From sci-fi to reality

Ryu Connor
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AngryM0nk3y sent me a link this morning that is too tantalizing to pass up.
The staff here at least in passing knows that I am a Anime fan. In
particular the series Macross holds a
very special place in my heart. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have a
mild heart murmur, Macross would have already spurred me to join the Air
Force as a pilot.

While everyone has wildly varying opinions about the military and its
efficiency, there is certainly one thing they seem to excel at wonderfully;
developing the next “wonder” technology. Much of the material created for
them eventually finds it way back into the hands of the consumer in products
less violently geared.

According to the
BBC
, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is ready to sign contracts and pay for projects that aim to discover how to build
exoskeltons for US infantry.

The goal of the project is to develop a lightweight, highly fuel efficient
and non-cumbersome set of equipment. To add to the difficulty of those
goals is the additional desires for the exoskeletons to provide these
abilites directly to the troops:


  • Carry heavier packs

  • March faster over longer distances

  • Lift heavier objects and use larger weapons

  • Leap extraordinary heights and/or distances

It doesn’t take much thought to realize how such a device could assist
people in non-combat situations. Likewise, it is rather easy to see that
such goals could cause this exoskeleton to never materialize, a fact even
DARPA realizes.

Dr Ephrahim Garcia, co-ordinator of the exoskeleton project, said its
demands were “formidable” and much of the initial research was speculative
to prove concepts rather than develop finished products.

Now stands the much greater task of taking concepts and seeing if they are
feasible to implement.

An informative read with interesting details about some already existing
field test failures and some speculation into some of the logical
battlefield growths for equipment if it gets up and off the ground.

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